Alternative Abstractions: Art and Science in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Visual Studies


In Helen Lundeberg, Mary Corse, and Frederick Eversley’s artistic practices, histories of astronomy, quantum physics, and astrophysical engineering both converge with and complicate existing art historical narratives of abstract painting and sculpture in Los Angeles. This dissertation examines Lundeberg, Corse, and Eversley’s explorations of space, light, and energy alongside the scientific theories influencing their work. Taken together, these case studies reveal how theories of modern physics prompted new modes of conceptualizing the subjectivity of human vision, experience, and knowledge through abstract form. Through the project’s interdisciplinary approach, abstraction emerges as a process of mediation between the realms of the conceptual and the material in both art and science.